Thursday, August 03, 2006

Temperaturely Speaking ...

... I am in hell. According to news reports, I moved to New York City during the hottest week in the Big Apple's history (not hottest week since 1972 or 1848 - in history). On top of that, Terrence, Candice and I scoured the city with what few hours we had left on the rental van madly searching for box fans. Apparently there are none left in the city. Eight million people sitting in pools of their own sweat. Go figure. If any New Yorkers read this and know where we could find several box fans within a Metro ride-radius of the Bronx, I would really appreciate it.

Today, it has been three years since my former boyfriend Rickey passed away. I thought about him most of the day. And I thought about his family. I should have called, but it's hard for me to call them sometimes. I talked to his mom on his birthday back in June, and there is still something about hearing her voice that makes me feel like he's going to get on the phone, too. Like when she laughs, I remember how he used to go up behind her and tickle her in the kitchen. And then something inside of me hurts. I still have to emotionally prepare myself to talk to anyone in his family, and today has been so physically and mentally exhausting. I don't know that I can face that part of my reality head on.

Terrence and I arrived in the Bronx this morning around 9 a.m. (and about 87 degrees) after a 12-hour overnight drive, in which he drove the entire way (what a trooper) and I slept on and off (how typical). We were riding over the George Washington Bridge in the early dawn. It's a moment I'll always remember. There are no words to describe the way it felt to see the Manhattan skyline loom before us. It was a new New York City to me. It wasn't a New York City I was just visiting. It was a New York City in which I would be living.

There was not much time to revel in the bittersweet excitement, however, as we rolled in the South Bronx and assessed our next move. The elevator in Tokii and Candice's building is out-of-order so we made approximately 15 trips each - from the van parked on the curb, up four flights of stairs (in one of those old buildings with high ceilings so the stairways are extra long and steep), and no air conditioning or fans. But we didn't complain - just muttered, groaned and sighed. It really felt important that we help each other. He wanted to get my stuff upstairs as quickly as possible (given the less-than-friendly reputaton of the South Bronx), and I didn't want him to do it alone. Plus, we needed to turn in the rental van by mid-afternoon.

We piled my boxes in a corner of Tokii and Candice's living room, where they will stay until I find an apartment, and then we each took ice cold showers. Terrence later reported that from where he stood showering, looking down over the busy road and the park across the street from the bathroom window, he observed a presumably homeless man taking a dump against a tree. He said he felt really awkward about watching this normal bodily function taking place in a highly abnormal setting with cars and pedestrians passing by, but he just could not stop looking because he just could not believe his eyes. Lately he has been more preoccupied and amazed that all of the windows in Tokii and Candice's apartment are wide open, without screens, and we rarely see any mosquitoes.

It is just so hot all day and throughout the night that we don't even want to sit next to each other. Sweat causes our clothes to cling to our bodies and the backs of our legs to stick to the couch. At one point, I looked at Terrence and said, "I think we messed up. We're in New Orleans."

His response was a short sigh followed by, "Damnit."

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